At a time when the AIADMK and the DMK are promising to reduce milk prices after being elected to power, Aavin consumers in the city are made to pay 50 paise more than the maximum retail price per packet.
Retailers in some areas have been telling their customers that prices have been revised from March 1 and packet prices have gone up by 50 paise or ₹1 each, said consumers. “I don’t buy milk daily; we buy according to our needs. Two days ago, I went to buy milk and the shopkeeper said the cost had gone up. Then I went to another area and asked shops there too and they said they had indeed increased prices. I was shocked since there was no formal announcement,” said K. Easwaran, a resident of Villivakkam.
Aavin officials said that milk prices had not been increased.
G. Murugan of Mylapore said many shopkeepers sold Aavin milk above the MRP, which was an unfair trade practice. “It has been their usual practice to overcharge us and prices go up according to their whims and fancies. However, this is not the case with private dairies. Shops don’t over charge when it comes to private brands,” he said.
S. Velayudham, a shopkeeper in Velachery, said that shopkeepers were forced to sell above retail price as they got milk at MRP from Aavin retailers. “We need to run the fridge throughout the day even if we have just two packets of milk. We don’t get any profit from the sale of milk. We get profit from the sale of other items such as bread, eggs and rice,” he said.
Kamaraj, Tamil Nadu Milk Retailers and Employees Welfare Association, said they were forced to supply at above MRP rates to shops since they got only ₹1 per packet from wholesalers, who got ₹2 per packet. “We have to go pick up milk from wholesalers, supply to retailers, collect money from them again and pay the wholesalers. But these transactions happen as cash and carry. We are not given any bills. There are retailers, who sell milk worth about ₹50,000 a day and get ₹1,000 out of that. They employ one man and he is paid ₹400 a day. Petrol charges and leaks run to ₹250 daily. At the end of the day, they get ₹350 a day,” he said.
Dealers have been demanding that Aavin do away with the system of wholesalers. “Private brands deal through just retailers, which reduces the commission being given to various persons down the chain and the advantage can be passed into the customers,” he added.